The Risks of Conforming to the Expectations of Others

img_7269Woo Hoo! A brand new year is here and we have 365 (363 by the time this post will have been published) days to make our lives even better than they used to be. There’s probably one thing that I keep reminding myself over and over again in such circumstances and that is to try to make my life as much my own as possible. What I mean by that is to remember to make my own choices I can stand  by, regardless of whether they’re popular and considered within “the norm” or not. Let me preach a little bit today about the risks of conforming to the expectations of others.

First of all, what you must remember is that people who have strong expectations towards life choices of others are often not that happy themselves. The people who keep enquiring about whether or not you have a partner when you’re single are often unhappy in relationships and marriages and want to make you feel bad about missing something because they actually feel inferior. The case is very similar with mothers reminding you about your biological clock ticking and providing you with a female’s made-up expiry date to stress the need of you getting pregnant ASAP. Of course, some of these people are actually content, wish you well and  they would like to see a similar happiness to others. However, they’re in minority and they tend to be so aware of the way they express themselves that you’re likely to read it as genuine. Most people, however, just use these topics to feel better about themselves. The thinking behind it is that I if they can point out that there’s something wrong with you, their own life choices have been validated and they don’t have to question them.

It’s needless to say that this sort of external self-esteem boost coming from comparison is not only temporarily but also detrimental. This is, however, the business of judges of others and their issue to deal with. Remember that nasty comments and unnecessary advice are about them and not about you. What to do when dealing with such people? When someone asks you so when are you going to find yourself a boyfriend, just reply: “When I’m ready.”. If you want to upset the apple cart even further ask them whether they’re having a bad day or feeling low. They expect you to feel the need to justify yourself and get defensive. You have no reason to comply with this expectation, as you don’t owe anyone an apology or an explanation for a lifestyle you choose.

The reason why it’s important to figure out what we want and stand by it regardless of what others think about it, is that you’re the one who’ll have to live with the choices. If you let others bully you into the life you don’t want, chances are you’ll be quite miserable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your parents pushing you to find The One as you’re already thirty or everyone around asking about babies because you’re married and expecting you to have them the “natural” way. If you think you have a problem and you dislike what’s happening in your life, work on it. Nevertheless, don’t let others tell you or make you feel like there’s something wrong with the way you live, if you’re happy.

Last but not least, the expectations of others never end and by surrendering once you make your life more difficult not easier. You get a boyfriend, people want you to get married, then have babies, then have loads of money, then send kids to a particular temple, “appropriate” schools… The point is that we shouldn’t let others put ideas in our head such as wanting “a boyfriend”, “a husband”, “a career”. Society just throws these ideas at us but achieving these things doesn’t make us happy. If I had let my parents pressurise me into staying with my ex, whom I was rather unhappy with, because “I wasn’t getting any younger”, quite possibly I would have ended having “a husband”. However, I would have never met my husband who actually is what I want and makes me happy. The idea of marriage shouldn’t be appealing to us as much as the idea of marrying someone who makes us and our lives better. A child won’t make you happy if you’re depressed just because you gave your parents the much wanted grandson. A career won’t make your life good either if you’re a manager in an industry you despise. There’s no one meaning of life and no one way to happiness. What most people want doesn’t have to be what we desire and that’s okay. Sure, it’s not easy to make unpopular choices, but people who really care about you will accept what works for you. Those who prefer to stay faithful to whatever rigid ideas they have and think that they have a right to impose their vision of the world on others may go in peace and make love to themselves.

What are you New Year’s resolutions, Dear Rinsers? Are you rebels for your own causes or do you do whatever is expected of you whether you want it or not? The comments section is all yours!

 

 

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27 comments

  1. bklynboy59 · January 3

    I am not sure I agree with your explanation of conforming. in life we all conform to something whether it is work , religion, a club we join etc. I think what you are talking about has less to do with conforming and more to do with reasonable expectations that we as parents want for our children…too be happy be in a productive relationship, have kids yes (it extends the family line ) hey your mother wants to be a grandma…it’s reasonable , unreasonable is you are going to college you are going to get A’s and be on the Dean’s list and you are going to an IVY League school , you are going… and your life is all mapped out for you with you having no say in it at all , that is unreasonable. What you describe with your mother just sounds like parential concern and wanting the best for you…(Can I be alittle misguided ? Sure) but remember one thing …one day , you may say the same to your children have yo found a nice man to settle down with are you having kids? What’s taking do long you’re not getting any younger ??? Get the point?

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 5

      We all conform to certain things but it’s about conforming to the right ones. If your parents religion imposes the rules you disagree with you don’t have to follow it just because it’s their expectation you’d. Sure, you must deal with the consequences of not conforming but you have a choice. Similarly, I don’t think everyone is meant to be a parent. There are a lot of bad parents out there and if someone doesn’t feel like they should have children, they shouldn’t have them just to please others. In my case I’ve always felt like I’d like to adopt. Should I change my view because other people expect me to? There’s nothing there’s universally right or wrong. Of course many things work out for most people but it doesn’t mean it has to work out for you. In your perspective family is the most important value and you say parents expecting the best education and marks from their children are crazy. Both ideas are just what they are – expectation. As individuals we have a choice not to conform to them and this choice should be respected. Everyone thinks they know bettter but the truth is they know what works better for themselves and not for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · January 5

        Not everyone is meant to be in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean if you do you are conforming. What I was saying is that conforming and living by your own path is two different things. Many cultures have arranged marriages and children to follow with you having no say in it. That is true conforming. Everyone has ideals of how they want life to be …you and EnglishRosiee talk about having a Prince Charming sweeping you away, but to some could that not be conforming to an ideal? There’s ideals and then there is reality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 5

        The fact that I’m married is probably conforming to certain extent. At the same time I got married late for my communities expectations because I wanted certain things in a partner not just to have a partner. Also I’m afraidI’vee never spoken about a Prince Charming sweeping me away but was always stressing the necessity for self-development and independence. I believe in partnerships and in this I don’t conform to other thing that’s widespread, namely sexism. We should just see what works for us and not blindly follow what others say.

        Liked by 1 person

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  3. Sarah Hope · January 4

    Good post! I think the overall message was live for you and by your own ideals without reservation of what another thinks. In the end, this is the journey of every person (whether they know it or not) and wise words.

    In retrospect, all I can offer is people are people, and everyone has an opinion that may or may not work for him or her – a fool disregards the opinions of others – a wise man listens and objectively weighs – I do agree that people will give opinions that may weigh you down negatively, but that does not mean that they are incorrect – the real question is why one perceives the message as negative or positive. I find for me personally when this occurs there is “unresolved issues” in my ownself that are out of alignment.

    As far as my New Year’s Resolution, I only had one: to never make a resolution again and live in the present. Lol. ALOHA 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 5

      I think you may be right about the perception of things as negative or positive. It may have to do with projection.Maybe others mean not well less often than we think? Still, I believe some people seem to “know it all” and always have something to say about how you should or shouldn’t do things. That’s a nice New Year’s resolution 😉 One of mine is to meditate daily so not to far from yours 😜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Hope · January 5

        While I see what you are saying regarding projection, in what I was attempting to correlate would be invalidated if projection was applied because that would be “an estimate or forecast of a future situation” which means that the negative situation would only be positive based on hope of further results, which essentially wipes out entirely what I was trying to say.

        More specifically, let’s say you get robbed on the side of the road. Yes, that sucks and it’s a negative situation; however, there are benefits of that situation too IF YOU CHOOSE TO VIEW IT THAT WAY such as: 1) as not traveling down the same road again; 2) being more consciously aware and doing better at hiding your valuables; 3) and learning how to look at the person who did as such and show love in your heart even though there are moments you want to strangle him or her 4) you get to go shopping for a new wallet, etc!

        In short, you can let something make you stronger as a person or destroy you as a person – but if you got robbed hoping that you would receive your money back or projected an image related to that then it would not be genuine. That does not mean you don’t go through “emotional stages” with feelings but it was WHAT WE CHOOSE TO DO – ACTIONS – that speak louder than words.

        If I missed what you are trying to say, I apologize, but would be more interested in how you correlate projection being related because to me that invalidates the entire premise of what I am communicating?

        I am also not quite sure how your meditation and my New Year resolution are related per say? The entire point of my resolution was to free me of any obligation other than what I decide I should do when I decide to do it, giving myself more power in decision making processes and not guided by the whims of feelings and/or commitment, recognizing that it is okay to be me and not setting myself for failure based on routine or habit. I live in my own mediative state always…by choice. Lol. We can become locked in our prison of expectations and that is my goal for this New Year is not to let those hurdles stand in my way of my own mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 10

        I meant projection as in projecting on others o and seeing their views as expressions what I criticize/think about myself. I agree with what you wrote above about reading of esituations being in our power. Nothing is intrinsically good or bad. I meant my resolution about meditation as a joke. I practice mindfulness meditation to “be in the moment” which you mentionedasn was your New Year’s resolution 😊 Sorry for typos I’m replying from my phone and the WordPress apps keeps making what I write disappear!

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      • Sarah Hope · January 10

        You are a better person than I – I never do anything I do not want to do…ever. I do refrain doing things I wish to do, however, but hate those situations more than I could ever express as it frustrates me, but balance the pro’s and con’s. I suppose one could correlate mediation and having no resolutions as somewhat related if you view mediation as living in the now – for me – why make a resolution – if you want to achieve it, then do it – why wait till the New Year? Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around!

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 11

        I think it’s something to be jealous of that you live entirely on your own terms. Sure, I usually start to make resolutions around my bday and New Year’s but that’s just because of symbolism. I come up with new resolutions whenever I feel something could improve my life. If I realize something doesn’t make my life any better I drop it. One should be flexible.

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      • Sarah Hope · January 12

        I totally agree which is why New Years Resolutions to me are completely eradicated. Lol. If you recognize something you want to change, to me it is simple: change that day – don’t “put if off till New Year”.

        To me, that just means you are going through the motions and not committed to change. If I want something and in order to obtain that need to change, I need not a second hesitation. In this day and age, it feels like New Years Resolutions are more of a way to delay the inevitable of guilt for unreasonably unachievable expectations – why set one self up for failure by placing stricter confines specified at a later date? Be who you want to be. Practice makes perfect…every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around…but it’s baby steps – not giant leaps forward. (I hope lol).

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 16

        I think New Year’s Resolutions have also a lot to do with procrastination. If I’m going to eat healthy from January and it’s only November, it leaves me with certain allowance to eat whatever because afterwards I won’t be able to eat crap etc. Unfortunately it never works. I tried postponing quitting smoking like this, starting and exercise routine and other things. You’re just lying to yourself. If you want to do things, you have to start asap and NOW if possible. That’s how I ended up making positive changes in my life – by taking baby steps today instead of giant leaps in two weeks.

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  4. Sarah Hope · January 5

    Also, in relation to your statement: “Still, I believe some people seem to “know it all” and always have something to say about how you should or shouldn’t do things” – that is the nature of 99% of all people, whether they admit to or not – you rarely meet people in the 1% that are accepting towards others, but it is always refreshing when you do 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 10

      I hope I’m in the 1% bit who knows, maybe it’s just wishful thinkin 😉 I’m definitely working on my acceptance towards myself and others, though!

      Like

      • Sarah Hope · January 10

        It’s not wishful thinking – it’s all about who one chooses to be! You seem very objective to me, but I think if one expects all people to be that way, they will get largely disappointed which is why most people segregate into social groups.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 11

        You’re right. I’m sure that with enough self-work one can get whenever he or she wants 🙂 Unfortunately, having high expectations towards myself makes me have similar ones towards others and it’s definitely a source of disappointment.

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      • Sarah Hope · January 12

        That is why I recommend starting from Ground Zero – harnessing the power of nothing leaves one with only one direction to travel: up. That is how I do it anyways…

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · January 16

        That almost sounds buddhist – having no expectations leaves you always pleasantly surprised. It seems to be a heat attitude!

        Like

  5. Sarah Hope · January 10

    In short, if that is where you want to be you are and I love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 11

      Thank you! x

      Like

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